If loud cheers and applause were the only gauge of someone’s popularity, then it is safe to say that Dulce and Piolo Pascual were the most popular Original Pinoy Music singers that performed on June 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Introduced as one of the great divas of the country, alongside Rachel Alejandro and Vernie Varga, the Cebuana singer and theater actress received thundering cheers as soon as she stepped on stage and hit the first note of Louie Ocampo’s original, “Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin.”
Then there was also the Kapamilya actor Piolo that received loud applause (and giggles from the female members of the crowd) when the dashing star sang his rendition of “Kailangan Kita,” an Ogie Alcasid original.
Called Icons at the Mall of Asia Arena, the concert was the showpiece of the newly built concert and sporting venue’s official launch. Attended by almost 20,000 OPM aficionados, the concert was, well, a festival of local music performed by the “most celebrated and world-class Filipino singers.”
The show, including speeches and ribboncutting, was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. and it was loyal to its timetable. The concert proper commenced at exactly 8:30.
The ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra that made its public debut that night opened the show, and Ryan Cayabyab was the conductor.
Like in any live performances, the show was not flawless. There was a technical glitch when the white drape covering the entire stage that was supposed to fall automatically was suspended in the middle of the stage for a couple of minutes. It distracted the audience.
That slight technical glitch, however, didn’t ruin the entire show. First batch of performers, which definitely set the mood of concert, were the vocal group The Company, Christian Bautista, and Jose Mari Chan singing the latter’s original songs and compositions like “Can We Just Stop And Talk Awhile,” “Tell Me Your Name” and “Beautiful Girl.”
Hosts Pops Fernandez and Jim Paredes also brought life to the show. Matter of fact, they played a big part. Their spiels guided the audience on what to expect in the next group of performers. They dished out trivia on local music perking up the audience with their commentary and their usual pitch of the concert venue.
OPM is the main theme of the two-hour musical extravaganza. Singers more popular to the young generation like Jed Madela, Juris, Richard Poonendeared the crowd with their power vocals in songs “Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala,” “Sino Ako,” and “Ikaw ang Pangarap.” Then, Freddie Aguilar, representing the ‘70s icons, went solo onstage with his iconic song “Anak.”
Though most of the performers that night were ABS-CBN stars, Ogie Alcasid and Regine Velasquez made their presence felt. The power couple sang “Hanggan Ngayon,” “Kailan Ko’y Ikaw,” and “Pangarap Ko ay Ibigin Ka,” songs which inspired by Ogie’s love and admiration to his then girlfriend and now wife, Regine.
The show didn’t fail to showcase world-class talents. And when we talk about world-class talents, Lea Salonga is probably first on everybody’s list. The Tony Award-winning singer graced the stage with her charming performance of “I think I’m In Love” and “Till I Met You.” She was later joined by Journey’s “Arnel Pineda,” who awkwardly sang the ballads “Don’t Know What To Do,” “Don’t Know What To Say” and “Hold On.” Nonetheless, Arnel was able to pull it though going off key and off beat at times.
In speaking of being off key, ‘80s balladeer Basil Valdez was the apparent letdown of the entire concert. In his number Erik Santos (who effortlessly sang “Nais Ko”) and Martin Nievera (who belted out “May Minamahal” in his usual shouting style) overpowered him many ways. The three singers that represented three generations of balladeers performed their rendition of Cayabyab, Willy Cruz and George Canseco songs.
Meanwhile, one of the more stimulating numbers of the night was Bamboo Mañalac’s. The musician glided the stage singing the anthemic “Noypi.” He wad joined by equally charged up dance group, G Force.
Adding comic relief to the show was the comedy duo Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo and Pokwang. They easily made the crowd laugh with their spontaneous interpretation of current events and impersonation of some known personalities like Dionesia Pacquiao, Rey Langit, Mike Enriquez and singers Gary Valenciano and Martin Nievera. They left the stage after performing the novelty “Ngumiti Tumawa Magsaya Kumanta.”
The penultimate part of the show was Gary V’s music video featuring his original composition which gives tribute to Henry Sy, the patriarch of SM Prime Holdings Inc.
The concert was then capped off with all the performers including the hosts, but excluding Regine and Ogie, returning on the stage singing a song, which is definitely not an OPM, Impossible Dream.